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E-1 Experiment #1

Corner Light Black and WhiteIt was a long day this Labor Day holiday. I got up early, packed the Prius, ate a bit of breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel, and then hit the road.

The remnants of Lee continued to wash over Florida from the Gulf, so that I had the pleasure of driving through periods of heavy rain on the way back to Orlando. I made the conscious decision to take 27 Alternate instead of the regular I-10 to I-75 route. Because this was a major holiday I wanted to avoid the traffic and the possible of sitting for hours on I-75 around Gainesville or Ocala due to some crazy accident. I took my chances on Alt 27 and it paid off.

Sitting at home, putting away my gear, I picked up the E-1 with the 12-60mm. Such a potent combination. The 12-60mm was originally developed to be used with the E-3, but it fits quite well on the E-1.

So while I'm lounging about on the Max's love seat in the living room I cranked up the E-1's ISO to 3200 (I love to watch the ISO value blink on the top LCD display when I do that), aimed it at the corner of the fireplace mantel, composed the scene with the artificial flowers in such a way that the lamp was in the lower corner of the frame and fired off a few exposures.

This represents the second exposure. I played a bit with exposure compensation, setting it to -1, but the standard 0 exposure compensation, using the E-1's built-in meter, worked best.

All exposures were taken as raw. Lightroom 3.4 was used to convert into standard JPEG. I've written before and it bears repeating; the current crop of post-processing applications give older cameras a new lease on life, especially at the extremes.

Once imported into Lightroom, I used Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert to black and white. The main effect is known as Wet Rocks. I added an adjustment point on the top of the lamp shade to recover some of the highlight detail. I then selected maximum sepia tone for the color.

It's grainy, it's not all that sharp in the details, but there's still lots of detail from deep shadows to bright highlights. It won't win any awards, but it's not meant to. It's meant as a technical teaching aid, and to prove, at least technically, that you can still do quite a bit with an eight-year-old five mega-pixel DSLR.

Why? Because I don't know how it works. Because this industry is so hell bent on churning out the next latest and greatest, the One True Camera that will finally make you the photographer that the world will want to themselves at your feet. Or at least that's the way all the ads in the magazines and journals want to portray it.

For those of you who want pretty, I will leave you with pretty. This is what the E-1 can produce when it's used conservatively. At base ISO. With better lighting. The E-1 with the Kodak sensor produces gorgeous smooth tonalities. And with the right lens it's every bit as sharp and detailed as anything else out there.

Backyard Orchids 1


  1. there ain't nothing wrong with a 5 year old DSLR. If it was good enough to be shit hot back then chances are it still is!

  2. looked at Nikon D300s, Canon 60D & 7D lately, discovered I expect the output to be somewhat realistic not high contrast and cartoonish colours to mask somewhat average glass. So I stay with my 2003 E-1.

  3. Good post, I've just ordered an E-1 and look forward to it being an interesting alternative to my E-510.

    A couple of years back I "upgraded" to a D300 but, lo and behold, it didn't make me a better photographer, just a poorer one! Luckily for me it was stolen and I learned an important lesson as I went back to my trusty E-510, which despite it's lower spec I much prefer for its handling and general ergonomics.

    The best upgrade you can make is to yourself... Take a course, read a book, practice more, set yourself a photographic project, visit some art galleries.


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